Soy Sauce and Apricots Did Me In

We’re about to enter our 22nd month of not buying food at the grocery store. The 22nd month. Nearly 2 years of avoiding processed food. I documented the first year over at our other blog, A Year Without Groceries, but have pretty much tapered off to a once a month cheese challenge post over there. It was too much to keep up both blogs especially right now when I’m in the midst of the worst writers block I’ve ever had. It’s why I haven’t posted much lately so forgive me.

Last week we decided to make some stir-fry for dinner from one of the wild turkeys that Tom had gotten last turkey season but we were out of soy sauce. We ended up digging out old, and I mean really old – in the realm of over 3 years old – packets of soy sauce that Tom had come across in our camping box. Looking back at it I realize it was pretty ridiculous and we probably should have just made something else for dinner.

And then this weekend our apricot tree decided it was time for us to take her bounty before the squirrels and birds descended upon her to clean her out. 70lbs of apricots came off of our little tree. My friend, Brandy, and I spent all day Sunday processing 60lbs of them. We made preserves, canned some in syrup, dried them and froze some. I stood there in my kitchen with 5 gallon buckets filled to the brim with apricots, no room to store them and not enough sugar or honey to process them. I had to use brown sugar instead, which I had just enough of to do a second batch of preserves.

This past weekend I had come to a realization. I chatted about it extensively with some of my homesteading/foodie friends to get their opinion. I talked with Tom quite a bit about it as well. I feel better about my decision and want to be upfront about it with all of you. I can’t do it all. I can’t make it all and I most certainly can’t bend the will of nature. If we want to preserve what we produce we can’t wait until our next buying club order which could be a month away or the next time we can harvest honey from our bees. There are some things I just can’t make efficiently (and sometimes legally) like soy sauce, fish sauce, hard alcohol, 5% acidity vinegar, cane sugar, etc. We’ve proven that we can give up the grocery store for nearly 2 years. We had to sacrifice the foods we loved because we couldn’t make them ourselves. So the decision has been made.

We’re going back to the grocery store. But there will be a big difference between going to the grocery store now versus the grocery store trips before our project. We will limit our trips to stores that we feel are more responsible. That means no Safeway or Lucky’s. Also we will not be purchasing baked goods, produce, meat, milk or eggs from the grocery store. And definitely no “convenience” foods. We will only be buying that which we can’t make or grow at home (like wheat and sugarcane). If we can make it, grow it or buy it directly from a farmer we won’t be buying it from the store.

To be honest, I was worried about discussing this here. One of my friends asked if I was concerned about losing readership because of this change. I was concerned but decided that it is more important that I be upfront and honest with my readers than just pretend everything is the same.

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